Making your own cat toys: 5 easy and cheap ideas

DIY cat toys

A cardboard box with a window makes an ideal cat toy.

Cats are putting their hunting instincts into practice when they play. Playing is important and the more diverse the toys, all the better. Five ideas on how you can make your own cat toys – with inexpensive items that can be found in every household.

Playing keeps cats fit and gives them the opportunity to put their hunting instinct into practice. Of course it's also fun and encourages the relationship between humans and cats. Regular activity is particularly important for indoor cats, which can't go outside to hunt mice.

You can make your own fun cat toys from items like cardboard boxes, empty toilet paper rolls and wine corks – cheap and straightforward.

Cardboard house with windows

It will certainly have happened to you once already: you order something online, unpack it, set aside the empty cardboard box and in the blink of an eye, your cat is sitting inside it. Cats love cardboard boxes because they are warm, cosy and make excellent hiding places.

With a few simple steps, you can make a cardboard house with windows for your cat from a normal box. You just need a cardboard box and scissors or a cutter, as well as a feather stick.

Material

  • A stable cardboard box
  • Scissors or a cutter knife
  • A feather stick

Instructions

Simply cut a few holes into the box with scissors or a cutter knife. The shape and size is up to you and your DIY skills, although they should at least be big enough for a cat's paw to fit through. Your cat can observe its surroundings through these windows or fish for prey with its paws.

When your cat is sitting in the box, slowly stroke the feather duster past the holes on the outside. Trying to catch the feather duster and pull it into the box is guaranteed fun for your cat. In addition, you can slowly push the feather duster through a window in the box and wait until your cat makes a grab for it.

Important: before leaving a cardboard box to your four-legged friend, you should look to see if there are any metal staples inside. Remove them to be on the safe side to prevent your cat from injuring itself. Furthermore, you should remove remains of sticky tape if your cat likes eating plastic.

Is a mere cardboard box too ugly in the long term? These cardboard cat products in the zooplus online store is an attractive alternative that your cat will certainly like too.

Cat playing with toilet roll cardboard
You can make a fun cat toy from an empty toilet paper roll.

DIY cat toys made from toilet rolls

Empty toilet rolls are found in every household. You can quickly and easy make a fun DIY cat toy with such a simple roll of cardboard.

The purpose of intelligence or activity toys is the cat having to tease out treats hidden in the toy. They allow your cat to train its brain as well as the dexterity of its paws. You can keep it busy with this for a good while, especially if you currently have no time to play with your cat.

Material

  • The inside of a toilet roll
  • Cat snacks or dried food

Instructions

At the start, simply fill an empty toilet roll with a few cat snacks. Instead of snacks, you can also use dry food. Then put the toilet roll on the floor and let your cat fish out the treats.

If this exercise proves easy for your cat, you can increase the level of difficulty and use the inside of a kitchen roll.

If this also gets too boring for your cat, seal an end of the toilet roll by loosely sticking a ball of paper inside it. This rustles when unpacked and makes the toy even more exciting. You can seal both ends with paper later on.

You can also make a box with several toilet rolls as a cat toy, for which you simply need to place the rolls upright alongside each other in a shoe box. The box must be filled completely so that the rolls aren't too loose and don't fall over. Afterwards, fill some of the rolls with cat snacks or dry food and set your cat to work.

DIY cat toys made from egg boxes

You don't have to throw away empty egg boxes either, because you can make great DIY cat toys from them. All you need for this DIY toy is an empty egg box and treats or dry food.

Material

  • An empty egg box
  • Cat snacks or dry food

Instructions

Simply fill the holes of an egg box with a few cat snacks or nuggets of dry food and let your cat fish them out. This isn't easy at all, especially for cats with fatter paws.

In order to increase the difficulty level, you can also fill the egg box with little paper balls or leave the lid loosely closed.

Digging box made from wine corks

If you enjoy drinking wine, you can give your cat a treat with the leftover corks. They are very suitable for filling a digging box.

Material

  • An empty box
  • Around 15 to 20 wine corks
  • Cat snacks or dry food

Instructions

You need a cardboard box or little plastic storage box like you can find in a hardware store, for instance, for the digging box.

Then simply fill the box with the corks and add dried snacks or little chopped chew sticks. If your cat is given dry food, you can even serve it an entire meal in the digging box.

Important: after some time, dust, crumbs and cat hairs start to accumulate in a digging box. For reasons of hygiene, you should regularly change cardboard boxes and occasionally rinse out plastic boxes. The corks should be cleaned regularly too – ideally with water and washing-up liquid.

You can also use chestnuts or paper balls as an alternative to wine corks.

Cat playing wine cork
Wine corks are great accessories for DIY fishing rods.

DIY fishing rod with corks

You can also make an individual toy fishing rod for your cat with wine corks. Although you need somewhat more material for this, your cat will love your handmade toy with corks.

Material

  • A cork
  • A thin wooden stick
  • Wool
  • Bells
  • Feathers
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • A long nail
  • A long darning needle
  • A pan with hot water

Instructions

First of all, boil the cork in a pan filled with water for around ten minutes until it softens. This makes it easier to perforate. With the help of the nail and hammer, then make a hole lengthways through the cork.

Then cut a thread of wool of around one metre in length and thread it through the cork with the darning needle. Afterwards, tie the ribbon on the lower side of the cork so that it can't slip. However, leave around ten centimetres of the thread of wool protruding so that you can fix the little bell and feathers later on.

Fix the longer end of the thread of wool to the wooden stick on the upper side of the cork.

You can now fashion the lower side of the cork as you wish. Tie on more threads of wool in different colours and attach the little bell and feathers. Voilà: the individual fishing rod for your feline friend is complete.

Tip: even the highest-quality toy fishing rods and feather dusters break at some point from being played with so much. Keep the sticks and use them for your DIY cat toy.

Our most helpful articles
6 min

Making your own cat toys: 5 easy and cheap ideas

Cats are putting their hunting instincts into practice when they play. Playing is important and the more diverse the toys, all the better. Five ideas on how you can make your own cat toys – with inexpensive items that can be found in every household.
4 min

Cat Yoga

Many gyms are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. For many people, their usual yoga sessions are currently taking place in their own home. Some people are using the time to try out yoga for the first time with the help of online courses. Cat yoga is one of the newer trends that emerged in the last years. How does it work? We'll give you some tips!
6 min

Laser Pointer for Cats

Opinions differ greatly with regard to whether laser pointers make suitable cat toys. In the following article, we will outline a few aspects that allow you to weigh up the pros and cons and to make your own decision concerning your beloved cat.